Sudan Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Sudan > Map Economy History

Background: Military dictatorships promulgating an Islamic government have mostly run the country since independence from the UK in 1956. Over the past two decades, a civil war pitting black Christians and animists in the south against the Arab-Muslims of the north has cost at least 1.5 million lives in war- and famine-related deaths, as well as the displacement of millions of others.
Government type: transitional - ruling military junta took power in 1989; government is dominated by members of Sudan's National Islamic Front (NIF), a fundamentalist political organization, which uses the National Congress Party (NCP) as its legal front.
Capital: Khartoum
Currency: 1 Sudanese dinar (SDD) = 100 piastres; note - in July 1999 the Sudanese Central Bank made the formal declaration that all dealings with the Sudanese pound should stop

Geography of Sudan

Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea
Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 30 00 E
Area:
total: 2,505,810 sq km
land: 2.376 million sq km
water: 129,810 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 7,687 km
border countries: Central African Republic 1,165 km, Chad 1,360 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 628 km, Egypt 1,273 km, Eritrea 605 km, Ethiopia 1,606 km, Kenya 232 km, Libya 383 km, Uganda 435 km
Coastline: 853 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 18 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical in south; arid desert in north; rainy season (April to October)
Terrain: generally flat, featureless plain; mountains in east and west
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Red Sea 0 m
highest point: Kinyeti 3,187 m
Natural resources: petroleum; small reserves of iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 5%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 46%
forests and woodland: 19%
other: 30% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 19,460 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: dust storms
Environment - current issues: inadequate supplies of potable water; wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting; soil erosion; desertification
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: largest country in Africa; dominated by the Nile and its tributaries

People of Sudan

The population of metropolitan Khartoum (including Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) is growing rapidly and ranges from 6-7 million, including around 2 million displaced persons from the southern war zone as well as western and eastern drought-affected areas.

Sudan has two distinct major cultures--Arab and Black African--with hundreds of ethnic and tribal divisions and language groups, which makes effective collaboration among them a major problem.

The northern states cover most of the Sudan and include most of the urban centers. Most of the 22 million Sudanese who live in this region are Arabic speaking Muslims, though the majority also use a traditional non-Arabic mother tongue (i.e., Nubian, Beja, Fur, Nuban, Ingessana, etc.) Among these are several distinct tribal groups; the Kababish of northern Kordofan, a camel-raising people; the Ja’alin and Shaigiyya groups of settled tribes along the rivers; the seminomadic Baggara or Kordofan and Darfur; the Hamitic Beja in the Red Sea area and Nubians of the northern Nile areas, some of whom have been resettled on the Atbara River; and the Negroid Nuba of southern Kordofan and Fur in the western reaches of the country.

The southern region has a population of around 6 million and a predominantly rural, subsistence economy. This region has been negatively affected by war for all but 10 years of the independence period (1956), resulting in serious neglect, lack of infrastructure development, and major destruction and displacement. More than 2 million people have died, and more than 4 million are internally displaced or become refugees as a result of the civil war and war-related impacts. Here the Sudanese practice mainly indigenous traditional beliefs, although Christian missionaries have converted some. The south also contains many tribal groups and uses many more languages than in the north. The Dinka (pop. est. more than 1 million) is the largest of the many Black African tribes of the Sudan. Along with the Shilluk and the Nuer, they are among the Nilotic tribes. The Azande, Bor, and Jo Luo are “Sudanic” tribes in the west, and the Acholi and Lotuhu live in the extreme south, extending into Uganda.

Population: 40,187,486 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 45% 
15-64 years: 53% 
65 years and over: 2%  
Population growth rate: 2.84% 
Birth rate: 38.58 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 10.28 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 70.21 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 56.55 years
male: 55.49 years
female: 57.66 years 
Total fertility rate: 5.47 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Sudanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Sudanese
Ethnic groups: black 52%, Arab 39%, Beja 6%, foreigners 2%, other 1%
Religions: Sunni Muslim 70% (in north), indigenous beliefs 25%, Christian 5% (mostly in south and Khartoum)
Languages: Arabic (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English
note: program of Arabization in process
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 46.1%
male: 57.7%
female: 34.6% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Sudan > Map Economy History